This blog post was written by Education Speaks editorial board member Steve King.
Full disclosure: I’m married to a teacher, work in the education field and come from a family of educators, so it’s safe to say I am a supporter of teachers and education, in general.
Last week, CBS announced that it has ordered ”Bad Teacher“, a new show set to be a feature in its primetime lineup.
According to CBS, “Bad Teacher”, based on a 2011 movie of the same name, stars Ari Graynor as “an always inappropriate, fearless and unapologetic former trophy wife who masquerades as a teacher in order to find a new man after her wealthy husband leaves her penniless.”
If you’re a teacher who has worked tirelessly on implementing Common Core Standards into your classroom this year – let that synopsis sink in for a second.
It’s been astonishing to me to watch the plight of the teaching profession – more specifically the hit their collective reputations have taken – over the last few years. Gone are the days that teachers were looked upon as champions of their students. They are now targets of education reformers, state leaders, fed-up taxpayers and evidently Hollywood.
Far be it from me to know what’s funny and what isn’t in Hollywood, but to take an institution like education and run it through mud simply shows how out of touch the show’s creators and executives truly are.
While this worthy endeavor to improve education around New York state has generally been well-received, the pressure that the teaching profession is facing in light of it has been unlike any other in recent memory. New mandates, including the Common Core Learning Standards, have changed the focus of how education is being delivered to students across the state. Couple that with the newly implemented teacher evaluation system (APPR) and you can begin to see how stressful this profession truly is.
I’m not saying the teaching profession should be off-limits when it comes to comedy. There are shows on television that make fun of all types of professions, from politicians to law enforcement. But given the media scrutiny that teachers are under today, the timing of this new show is interesting. The amount of work that teachers are taking on daily should not just be discarded for sake of a few cheap laughs.
Teachers are on-stage, five days a week for seven hours a day. And they don’t just get to unplug when the school day is over. No, then the work really starts. Lesson planning, curriculum mapping, test development and much more. Our nation’s teachers do some of the toughest and most critical work in this country on a daily basis.
So maybe you can understand why so many of them won’t be tuning in to “Bad Teacher” on CBS. It won’t be because they won’t find it funny. More than likely, it will be because they’ll be too busy to watch it.